Yet another example of the extraordinary barbarism of reactionary Islamic law, this time in the Sudan where a woman has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy after converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian man, both of which are forbidden under that nation’s version of Sharia law.
A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies that freedom of religion should be respected.
“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,” Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by a Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.
Her Christian name is Mariam Yahya Ibrahim.
She was charged with apostasy as well as adultery for marrying a Christian man, something prohibited for Muslim women to do and which makes the marriage void.
Students at Khartoum University have been protesting against this brutal oppression, prompting the government to simply shut down the university. Welcome to the 14th century. The Center for Inquiry put out a press release protesting these horrific actions:
In a message to the Sudanese government, the Center for Inquiry demands all charges be dropped against Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old Christian woman, eight months pregnant, who has been sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a Christian man.
In its letter to Sudan’s UN ambassador, H.E. Hassan Hamid Hassan, the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a secular humanist advocacy organization, states, “Meriam is being punished for nothing more than changing her mind in regards to religion, and marrying a man who belongs to a religion different than that of her family — both which are universally protected human rights.”
“This kind of violent oppression by Sudan against one of its citizens is abhorrent,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s United Nations representative. “Religious belief must never be coerced and free expression must never be punished, through threat of imprisonment, violence, or any other means. This cannot go unanswered, and the world will not stand for it.”
CFI reminds Sudan that it is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which strictly forbids this kind of persecution or coercion in terms of religious belief, and the right to marry whom one chooses.
“By prosecuting Meriam and sentencing her to death, Sudan is in clear violation of the ICCPR,” writes CFI. “We call upon the Republic of the Sudan to honor its treaty promises, immediately free Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag, and end all legal proceedings against her.”
We must continue to work to build a world where such barbarism is only a memory.